It was an early show on this hot August night, and I missed the first opener, Portland’s beloved Separation of Sanity.  I heard there were sound check or set up issues, and SOS’s set was cut to a mere three songs.

I arrived just in time to see another Portland favorite, Von Doom.  Always a pleasure to see, Von Doom put on a great show.  This Portland band is consistently awesome; the men of Von Doom are great songwriters, musicians, and showmen.  I love how they play, and then turn around and watch every other band on the bill as fans.

Up next was Tetrarch, and I was sort of surprised at the low turnout at this point in the evening.  But as with the other shows that occurred in Portland this week, the “eclipse of 2017” had caused some havoc, and some hesitation in taking to the streets, due to the perceived traffic holocaust that the media predicted.  MIRP had the pleasure of interviewing Tetrarch, and I found myself right in front of guitarist Diamond.  She is an exceptional guitarist, and the only female who would grace the stage on this night.  She made herself accessible after the show, and was really down to earth and nice, as were every member of this band.  They were good, but besides having a killer female guitarist, nothing significant stood out for me.  Let me be clear, they were good; just not exceptional.

I was excited to see Uncured, as I’d read a lot of good things about them.  However, but for the bass player and drummer, I found them to be really weird.  Musically they were mediocre, but what was so weird about them was the matching guitarist brothers.  From their matching tight black trendy pants, to their weird matching side-swiped “pretty boy” hair, they were awkward.  If that wasn’t enough, it was something in the way they moved… they were stiff, and bent only at the waist, and it looked like they hadn’t practiced in the mirror enough, and/or just didn’t feel the music, but had practiced enough in the mirror to try it out live. Unfortunately, I was not at all awestruck by this band, and according to everything I had read, I should have been.

36 Crazyfists hit the stage next, and I’d say half of the crowd was there to see these Portland locals who made it big, and half were here to see DevilDriver.  Looking polished and playing like veterans, 36 Crazyfists caused the Hawthorne Theater to explode.  Each member was spot on, and each member was fantastic to watch.  From Brock Lindow’s energetic prancing, to Steve Holt’s coolness, Mick Whitney’s stability, and Kyle Baltus’ theatrics, the men of 36 CrazyFists put on a great show.  The interaction they and had with the crowd was nice to see; it’s always nice when bands acknowledge where they came from, and we were certainly proud of them as “one of us.”

Devildriver.  I’ve seen them many times, and each time is more enjoyable than the next.  Dez may be small, but on stage, he is a giant.  With the exception of guitarist Neil Tiemann, who looked like he was not happy to be there, the band put on a true metal show.  New bassist Diego ‘ashes’ Ibarra, and drummer Austin D’Amond were a great addition to DevilDriver.  While Neil Tiemann is a fine musician, it felt like he sort of didn’t fit the band.  He looked more like he should be in Amon Amarth or Grand Funk Railroad with is hair braid, bellbottoms, and boots.  What really stood out is how irritated and fearful he looked at the kids stagediving.  At one point, I saw him stop playing and put both hands up to protect his space, like “omg, don’t you dare come over here and disturb my stuff,” but not in a bad ass way.  But, he was the only corner of the stage that didn’t encourage the normalcies of a metal crowd.  Dez danced and rocked out to his music, and made the crowd feel like he was happy to be back in Portland.